Trucks That Tow the Most
Hitching up the biggest trailers in each truck class.
Asking which truck tows the most weight is a slippery slope to start down. There's literally an indescribable number of options and factors that affect a truck's tow rating. Manufacturers most often list the absolute maximum that a truck of a certain configuration can tow. And in most cases this is for the lowest trimmed truck with just one occupant and no cargo. Once you add anything to the truck that adds weight (think leather seats, deluxe audio systems, acoustic glass, running boards, bed liners, etc. ), the tow rating is reduced.
To find the actual tow rating of a pickup, one would need to know the exact curb weight of the vehicle in question and subtract that from the vehicle's gross combined vehicle weight (GCVWR), remembering that any additional passengers or cargo will lower the available towing capacity.
General Motors has been the best thus far at giving actual tow ratings of vehicles through the use of a VIN-specific door tag. Each Chevrolet or GMC pickup gets a unique tag that lists not only its tow rating, but also payload capacity, curb weight, gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), and more.
For this exercise we're going off of what each manufacturer lists as its maximum tow rating for each class. It's worth noting, then, that these are base model trucks with no optional equipment. All ratings also adhere to the SAE J2807 standard.
The Truck That Tows the Most - Ford F-450 Super Duty
While there is dispute among folks as to which class of pickup the Ford F-450 Super Duty falls into, there's no arguing that it is the current towing champ. Ford classifies the F-450 as a Class 3 truck with a maximum GVWR of 14,000 pounds, which on paper puts it at the top end of the 1-ton class. GM and Ram argue that the F-450 is merely an underrated Class 4 truck. Regardless, the 2020 F-450 Super Duty is rated to tow up to 37,000 pounds.
Ford offers the F-450 pickup in either regular or crew cab configurations (there's no Super Cab F-450), in either two- or four-wheel drive, and with only the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8 engine. Regular cab models can tow 21,200 pounds with a conventional hitch setup, while crew-cab models bump up to 24,200 pounds. Crew-cab F-450 trucks can tow up to 34,600 pounds (two-wheel drive) or 32,600 pounds (four-wheel drive) with a gooseneck hitch. Regular-cab four-wheel-drive models can tow up to 36,400 pounds, and the regular-cab two-wheel-drive F-450 Super Duty is the towing champ at 37,000 pounds with a gooseneck hitch.
1-Ton Trucks - Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD / GMC Sierra 3500HD
Tied for top towing in the 1-ton class are the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD and GMC Sierra 3500HD. For the 2021 model year GM made a few strategic improvements to the truck to enable a towing increase to a maximum of 36,000 pounds. The company was able to shave a couple hundred pounds out of the truck, improved the front suspension, switched to aluminum wheels for the front and rear outer (rear inner wheels are steel), and leaned on some extra room they already had to enable the jump of 500 pounds. To hit this maximum towing number, you'll need a regular-cab, two-wheel-drive 3500HD equipped with the Max Towing package. Naturally, this combination is paired with the 6.6L Duramax diesel V-8 engine and 10-speed Allison transmission.
3/4-Ton Trucks - Ford F-250 Super Duty
All of the current class of -ton pickups on the market are rated to tow less than 20,000 pounds with the exception of one. Ford's 2020 F-250 Super Duty in regular-cab configuration with the 6.7L Power Stroke diesel V-8 can tow 22,800 pounds with a gooseneck hitch (21,800 pounds for four-wheel-drive models). Conventional towing tops out at 20,000 pounds for Super Cab and crew-cab models.
1/2-Ton Trucks - Ford F-150
For the 2020 model year the towing crown for -ton trucks belonged to General Motors, with their Silverado and Sierra 1500 models towing up to 13,400 pounds when equipped as a Double Cab, four-wheel drive, with the 6.2L V-8 engine. For 2021, however, Ford regains the crown with an F-150 capable of towing up to 14,000 pounds. At 14,000 pounds the 2021 Ford F-150 is encroaching on -ton towing ability. To get to this maximum figure you'll need to order a crew-cab model, in two-wheel drive, with either 3.55:1 or 3.73:1 axle gears, and the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 engine. Opting for a four-wheel-drive model drops towing to 13,800 pounds, which is still best in class.
Midsize Trucks - Chevrolet Colorado & GMC Canyon
The midsize truck class is super competitive when it comes to maximum towing figures. At the top of the class is the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickups, each of which can tow a maximum of 7,700 pounds. To hit this figure owners will need to option a two-wheel-drive truck with the 2.8L Duramax diesel engine in either extended or crew cab. Jeep's Gladiator isn't far behind, with a maximum tow rating of 7,650 pounds, and the Ranger trails behind at 7,500 pounds. Toyota's Tacoma can tow a maximum of 6,800 pounds, and Honda's Ridgeline trails the class with a tow rating of 5,000 pounds.